Today Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) took a stand against a National Endowment for the Humanities' grant recently awarded to Craven Community College (CCC). The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys grant will provide the college with 25 books and a DVD to "introduce Muslim cultures to Americans." Jones has consistently opposed and voted against federal spending bills that fund the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
"It is appalling to me that a federal agency like NEH is wasting taxpayer money on programs like this," said Jones. "It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations.
In order to receive the grant, the college library is "required to organize programs that introduce the books and the Muslim Journeys themes to the library's patrons and the broader community." The library is also required to add the books to its circulating collection. Book titles include: "The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman's Journey to Love and Islam", "The Story of the Qur'an, "Muhammad", and "A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America."
If Craven Community College insists on accepting the grant, Congressman Jones is calling on college leaders to follow their written policy of providing "balanced" resources for library patrons. In a letter sent this afternoon, Congressman Jones asked the board of trustees to give equal exposure to books about Christianity and America's rich Judeo-Christian heritage. To help them do so, Congressman Jones has secured a commitment from the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition to donate 25 books on these topics. The Christian Coalition has also agreed to assist the college in organizing a public event to introduce their donated books to the community -- the same type of event which the college has committed to hold for the introduction of NEH's Islamic books.
Jerry Schill, Chairman of the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition said, "The Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition would be pleased to provide a series of materials about the history of Christianity to the Craven Community College. However, in light of the government's role in keeping God out of the public square and the obstacles that Christians face when it comes to prayer and the ability to publicly proclaim our faith, it just seems more than odd that the federal government will provide a package of "Muslim Journeys" to a number of colleges nationwide. It's even more perplexing knowing the fiscal problems facing our nation."
A copy of Congressman Jones' letter to the Craven Community College Board of Trustees can be found below.